The Pardoner’s Tale: Questions

Questions to make you think!

1. The Pardoner’s tale itself begins only at line 373. What, then, is the function of lines 175-372?

2.  In what ways is the tale of the three scoundrels appropriate?

3. An “application” is that part of a sermon in which a preacher says, “and this lesson applies to you in the audience”.   To whom is the Pardoner speaking in his “application” of his tale’s significance?

4. When the Pardoner ends his tale at lines 590, how do you take his phrase:  “I wol you nat deceive”?

5. When the Pardoner says, “oo word forgat I in my tale,” do you believe him?

6. What seems to be the Pardoner’s attitude toward his audience of Chaucer’s pilgrims?

7. Why does the Pardoner fall silent?

8. What is the Pardoner’s purpose?  What is ironic about it?

9. Consider the effect of the rhetorical devices employed by the Pardoner in his tale.

10. Why does the narrator linger in some parts of the plot and only briefly sketch others?

11. Consider the nature and function of the different characters in the story.

12. The “olde man” laments his inability to die, what is the significance of this lament?

Other pages (some mine) on The Pardoner’s Tale:

Very useful Study Guide giving insights into many aspects of the text, including a commentary on the significance of phrases.


Modern English rendering 

Chaucer: The Man and his Work

The Pardoner of the Tale

The Pardoner’s Tale as Sermon (Form)

The Pardoner’s Tale Annotated Text (first few lines)

The Pardoner’s Tale: context

Modern English version

The Pardoner’s Tale: questions

The Pardoner’s Tale: the uncanny

The Pardoner’s Tale: writing style and characterisation


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